Since mid-June the world has experienced a joy at the rhythm of a round ball and the colorful Football World Cup in Brazil.
In Cuba it’s been a great party, although with great regret that we can’t enjoy our own team in this event. One of the dreams of a good Cuban is to be able to see a team from the Island get to that event and make a good show. Although still far from our chances, we see African teams ascending and early goodbyes from the Cup for favored European teams. “Our day will come,” say some of the fanatics at the “Baseball Rock” in Central Park, today converted to game with a single ball and goals.
A Cuban “knows everything,” and when it comes to sports, “No one will put a foot forward.” We don’t like to lose and although no one playing the gigantic South American stadium today is Cuban, we raise our hands for our foreign team, calculate our own standings and hoist the flag, on our rooftops, balconies, doorways, or even on our cars, phones and even clothes.
For almost a month, the streets have been overrun by the flags of countries which, in most cases, we Cubans have barely visited, but we like to be identified with the latest fashions or to simply be able to say to a neighbor, “I’m with you or against you.”
Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Italy and Germany are the teams with the most fans in our country, and therefore the ones most represented by their flags.
This is seen not only in the flags on display in our streets but also in the little flags offered by the non-state street vendors, which at a price of one convertible peso (CUC), give color to the imagination and happiness to Cubans.
Cuban State TV, our eyes on the World Cup, in addition to bringing us the event’s games, shows us the displays of nationalism by the fans of each team, wearing and waving the colors of their flag.
In Cuba, the tradition of hanging our most precious patriotic symbol from our balconies and windows, is vanishing. It will be “because times are changing,” or “because there’s no place to buy Cuban flags,” or “because the price is far beyond the reach of an ordinary Cuban.” My question is, “Where is my flag?”
4 July 2014